Summer McIntosh sets world record to open Bell Canadian Swimming Trials

Summer McIntosh had the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre buzzing on Tuesday night as she set her first senior world record at the 2023 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials.

The 16-year-old phenom swam to victory in the women’s 400m freestyle in 3:56.08. That took 0.32 off the previous mark set by last May by Ariarne Titmus of Australia, the reigning Olympic champion in the event.

McIntosh is the first Canadian to break a long course world record since Kylie Masse did so while winning gold in the women’s 100m backstroke at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships. McIntosh swam more than three seconds faster than the national record she set in winning silver behind Titmus at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Over the past few years I’ve put my life into this, to be the best I can be. To achieve something like this, it was very unexpected. It was never in my dreams to do this tonight or even a few years ago. This just blows my mind,” said McIntosh.

McIntosh was just 14 when she broke onto the international scene with her fourth-place finish in the 400m freestyle in her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. A year later, she won four medals at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships. That haul included gold medals in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley as well as a silver medal in the 400m freestyle behind American legend Katie Ledecky. McIntosh went on to win six medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Bell Canadian Swimming Trials are serving as the selection event for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships as well as the 2023 Pan American Games. They will continue through Sunday with finals sessions each night that are being streamed live by CBC Sports.

In other notable news from the opening night, Ingrid Wilm defeated Masse in the final of the women’s 100m backstroke. Twice an Olympic medallist in the event, Masse had won the event at every Trials since 2016. Both women qualified for the world championship team.

Javier Acevedo swam his fastest 100m backstroke since 2017, qualifying for the worlds with his winning time of 53.83 seconds. It was his first time under the 54-second mark. Olympians Sydney Pickrem and Kelsey Wog both qualified for worlds in the women’s 200m breaststroke. Pickrem was a bronze medallist in the event at 2019 Worlds.

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